WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) raised concerns over reports of an out-of-state company manufacturing and marketing its products under the guise of authentic chile from Hatch, New Mexico. He issued the following statement today calling for better labeling protections for locally-produced products:
"I am proud of our state's chile farmers for defending New Mexico-grown chile and bringing their case before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Consumers who want to eat New Mexico chile should be able to trust the label. Manufacturing and marketing products that masquerade as authentic chile from New Mexico is outrageous, and I fully support our growers' efforts to protect authentic New Mexico-grown chile.
"New Mexico's agricultural industry is an economic driver and has shaped our state's history, as many growers here come from families that have cultivated these lands for generations. And there is no doubt that chile is our state's iconic agricultural product. The chile industry contributes to New Mexico's agriculture and food processing economy, which accounted for $10.6 billion of gross state product, 50,000 jobs, and $1.4 billion in employee compensation. I will continue to stand with our chile farmers and processors who deserve our support as they fight to keep the industry strong and produce the quality foods that can only be from New Mexico."